Australia: Mothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaMothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme

02:50  12 september  2019
02:50  12 september  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Mothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme© Janie Barrett Lubna Al-Hashimy, right, covers her face with a scarf, after being arrested over the alleged fraud. She is pictured leaving Bankstown police station with a supporter who has not been charged with any offences.

Mothers who allegedly gave their children's identities to be used in a $4 million childcare fraud syndicate were arrested in a police operation across south-west Sydney on Thursday.

More than 10 women were targeted in the early morning raids for facilitating the operations of Red Roses Family Day Care Pty Ltd, which allegedly masqueraded as a day-care company in order to defraud the federal government's child care subsidy scheme.

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It is the second arrest operation this week after seven women were arrested at their homes on Tuesday.

Among them was the company's top supervisor Lubna Al-Hashimy, 41. She was arrested at the Georges Hall home she shares with her husband Alee Farmann, the alleged mastermind of the operation.

Mr Farmann was one of 17 people charged in May over their role in operating the fake home family day-care business in arrests that police described as "the tip of the iceberg".

Mothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme© Janie Barrett Alee Farmann, who is the alleged mastermind of the Red Roses Family Day Care fraud. Now investigators have turned their sights to the parents who allegedly helped to make it happen.

Strike Force Mercury was launched in July last year by the Financial Crimes and Organised Crime Squads to investigate Red Roses Family Day Care, which has since been shut down.

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Police allege the business created false timesheets and rostering, mock children’s play areas and advertised photographs of children who were never in care to fraudulently claim for Commonwealth benefits under a childcare subsidy scheme.

Under the scheme, a subsidy is paid directly to home day-care providers to be passed on to families as a fee reduction. Families then make a co-contribution to their fees by paying the provider the difference between the fee charged and the subsidy amount.

Mothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme© Janie Barrett Nahida Safar is one of many parents who allegedly provided their children's identities to the fraud syndicate. In the Red Roses Family Day Care network, parents operating fake home day-care centres would provide their own children's identities to be lodged on the books of another facility and vice-versa, despite none of their children ever being cared for by the other.

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Subsidy payments were then paid back to the business, to be filtered down through the syndicate.

It is alleged one property that claimed to be caring for 50 children at a time was in fact a small garage that was without electricity for 22 days in February.

More than 35 people have been arrested and charged over the operation.

Mr Farmann was the registered director of Red Roses Family Day Care and the alleged mastermind of the fraud, enjoying a take-home salary of about $30,000 a fortnight. It is alleged he used the money to purchase luxury cars and real estate across Sydney.

Mothers arrested in raids over allegedly fraudulent family day-care scheme© Brook Mitchell The Red Roses Family Day Care office in Fairfield. In May, he was charged with directing a criminal group. He is on bail and is yet to enter a plea. He will next appear at Liverpool Local Court on September 30.

On Tuesday, he attended Bankstown police station where his wife was taken following her arrest at their $1.5 million Georges Hall home. She was also charged with directing a criminal group.

Another six women were arrested and charged with participating in a criminal group. They included Nahida Safar, 35, and Mariam Farhat, 32. Both allegedly provided their children's identities to the syndicate.

All were released on conditional bail and are scheduled to appear at Liverpool Local Court on September 30.

On Thursday, police descended on homes in south-west Sydney, where more than 10 women were targeted. They are expected to be charged with participating in a criminal group.

In May, acting State Crime Commander Stuart Smith said the syndicate was "elaborate", with systems designed "to defeat [departmental] audits ... both phone and physical audits".

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